7 Common Home Styling Mistakes, According to Home Stagers

Don't fret, you can easily fix these problems.

<p>Shannon Dupre </p>

Shannon Dupre

If you're feeling like something about your space isn't quite right, you're not alone. There seems to always be something you can zhzuh up in your home decor-- a piece you can add, subtract, or swap out. But what is it? To get to the bottom of this question, we called in some professional help. Home stagers have the unique job of walking into a space and sniffing out styling mistakes. They know when a rug is too small or a piece of art is too big, and it's their job to get that room to it's ultimate potential. You know, to a place where everything is totally right.

We asked a few of our favorite home staging pros to tell us about the most common design faux pas' they come across in their line of work, and how people can tweak their furniture and decor to make the room feel balanced and polished. There are tons of helpful tips and tricks in here, so read on to see if you can spot that one little thing that needs fixing.

Your Art is the Wrong Size

<p>Photo: Shannon Dupre/ Styling: Jason Saft</p>

Photo: Shannon Dupre/ Styling: Jason Saft

We're kicking it off with this one because all three of the home stagers we interviewed noted this. Stager Jason Saft of Staged to Sell explains that there are all sorts of issues people have when styling art. Many times there's not enough of it (if that's the case, shop art here), but the biggest problem he sees is that the art tends to be the wrong size and scale. "Art placement over a sofa seems to be the biggest offender," he says. "A good rule of thumb is to look for art that takes up 60-75% of the width of your sofa." For example, if you have a standard 86" sofa, you'll want go get something 50"-64" in length. And don't forget about placement! "The bottom of the art should be about 8"-12" above the sofa.

You're Not Displaying Your Family Photos Up High

"This is going to sound a little crazy to some but, considering putting your frame family photos on bookshelves and higher surfaces that you cant see the back of," Saft says. He's on to something there-- the backs of smaller frames aren't exactly the prettiest things to look at. So if you have a console filled with family photos sitting in the middle of the room, you're going to see a whole lot of black velvet-y material and tags. "Instead consider elevating them so that all you see is the picture perfect moment with your loved ones." Maybe towards the top of a well-styled bookshelf.

You're Under-Utilizing Your Console

<p>Photo: Shannon Dupre/ Styling: Jason Saft</p>

Photo: Shannon Dupre/ Styling: Jason Saft

"Considering the necessity of a piece is a secret to a well styled home that not only looks good but adds functionality to your life," Saft says. He loves a good-looking console, which is the perfect place for people to stash keys, wallets, phone chargers, and more. "I recommend keeping all those items in the entry or a tray in a walk-in closet (if you’re lucky enough to have one)  to make things easier as you come and go." You want the piece to be pretty and useful.

Your Lighting Is Too Low (Or Too Intense)

<p>Photos by Adrian Anz/ Styling by Meridith Baer</p>

Photos by Adrian Anz/ Styling by Meridith Baer

  • Home stager and interior designer Meridith Baer says people don't pay enough attention to lighting. First off, you need dimmers! Secondly, you need variety. "It's important to have various sources of light spread out across the room to make sure you don't end up with dead spots within the room," she says. Integrate ceiling fixtures, floor lamps, table lamps, and task lamps if applicable.

All of Your Furniture is On The Sidelines

<p>Photos by Todd Goodman, LA Light Photography/ Styling by Meridith Baer</p>

Photos by Todd Goodman, LA Light Photography/ Styling by Meridith Baer

It might feel instinctual to place all of your furniture on the perimeter of the room, but fight that instinct! Instead of making a room feel larger, it makes it feel impersonal. "Rooms need to have intimate conversation areas," she says. "If it's a very large room, create multiple seating areas."

You're Karate Chopping Your Pillows

Yes, this is what was big in the 80's, but doing the half chop on your throw pillows now looks dated and unrealistic. Instead, opt for some light fluffing and let them settle as they are. The asymmetry looks better.

Your Area Rugs Are Too Small

<p>Courtesy of Olive & Opal</p>

Courtesy of Olive & Opal

It's amazing what correcting proportions can do for a room! Anna Neal, Co-Founder of Olive & Opal Interiors points out that the right-sized rug can make a room look and feel larger. "A properly sized rug can anchor the furniture in a space, defining areas and creating cohesive visual appeal," Neal says. "A rug that's too small can make a room feel disjointed or out of balance." You want to aim for a rug that's large enough to fit under all of your key pieces of furniture, Neal recommends taking time to consider the layout of your room and measuring before you order.

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